Zagreb ready to welcome world’s best skiers

23 December 2011 14:00

In early January the hill overlooking Croatia’s capital will once again welcome world’s best male and female skiers. The 8th Audi FIS Ski World Cup Vip Snow Queen Trophy will take place on 3rd and 5th January 2012, gathering not only world’s ski elite but also the representatives of both domestic and foreign media and many spectators.

The total of 150 competitors will participate in the rather attractive night slaloms, which have given the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Vip Snow Queen Trophy races a special place on the World Cup race calendar. The skiers will arrive from 28 countries on four different continents, accompanied by over 400 team members. The prize money is EUR 120,000, just as in 2011, with equal amounts to be awarded to both male and female skiers.

Champions such as Giuliano Razzoli (ITA), Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA), Andre Myhrer (SWE), Tanja Poutiainen (FIN), , Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER), Mario Matt (AUT), Sandrine Aubert (FRA) have taken home the famous cristal crown in the past editions of the race. But Zagreb will be welcoming also many of the new young, rising slalom stars currently fighting strongly their way to the top. Marlies Schild and Andre Myhrer (SWE), who took home the cristal crown last year are coming back to Zagreb to defend their titles. Schild is on a roll, winning all three ladies Slaloms disputed so far, while Myhrer's last result is a second place in Flachau, just after Zagreb's host and best skier Ivica Kostelic. Kostelic has come close to the crown twice, but both times someone else was faster; once Matt, once Grange and once Myhrer. With two victories out of three Slaloms this year, could this be finally Kostelic's time to be crowned Snow King?

Sljeme has been covered in snow since last weekend. Preparation works in all the venues, in which the Vip Snow Queen Trophy 2012 and various side events will be held, are going according to the planned dynamics. Last Saturday, to add to 20-odd centimeters of freshly fallen natural snow, the organizers began covering the Crveni spust course with artificial snow and the process is now nearing completion. In the coming period temperatures suitable for the continuation of the snowmaking works are expected. Official snow control is scheduled for Christmas day, but with the current snow situation, which looks good, this should just be a formality. Moreover, in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day works on consolidating the snow and preparing the course will start.

So far this has been a challenging season with either too little or too much snow on the race slopes around the worlds, so having most of Sljeme ready for the race already before Christmas came as a great present to the organizers.

This year as well the media have shown considerable interest in the Vip Snow Queen Trophy 2012 races. Around 20 TV stations in 18 different countries (in Europe, North America and Asia) will cover the races live, while footage from the races, news reports and reportages will be aired in 50-odd other countries of the world. The fact that last year over 300 million people cumulated watched the races live or via footage, reports, news and other forms of broadcasting, is proof enough of the attractiveness of the Sljeme races. Moreover, the men’s slalom race was the most watched race in live TV broadcasting of all World Cup races, while the ladies’ race was the second most watched race, right behind the one in Austria’s Semmering!

Sljeme has always offered great stories to report on, from it being the only race hosted by a capital city, to the numerous fans that make their way up the mountain and support all the racers to the famous run of local heroine Janica Kostelic, skiing into third place after loosing her pole and glove just out of the start gate... Alberto Tomba, one of the most famous skiers of all times also never missing the chance to come to Sljeme and show support to the skiers.

Sljeme is ready to once again put up an amazing show, !